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Highland Clans and Culloden Moor

Memorial Cairn erected by Duncan Forbes on Culloden Moor in 1881.
Memorial Cairn erected by Duncan Forbes on Culloden Moor in 1881.
Photo by Wp82

Culloden Moor near Inverness, Scotland is the site of the last official battle between the English and the Scottish. The Battle of Culloden took place in 1746. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops (called Jacobites) met with the English forces and were soundly defeated within one hour. The English had been fed, rested and properly clothed. The Scots were tired, hungry and had low morale.

On the grounds of Culloden today, there are tombstones to fallen clansmen that were erected by Duncan Forbes in 1881. The most recognizable feature on the grounds is probably the memorial cairn, also erected by Forbes, to commemorate the sacrifice of the Highlanders who fought and died there. It is a stone structure that stands twenty feet tall. There are flags posted along the battlefield to give visitors an idea of where troops were located, how far apart and where they battled. Another interesting part of the grounds is an actual stone building with a thatched roof. It is called the Leanach cottage. This particular building wasn’t around at the time of the battle, however it is a replica of what a home would have looked like then. It is believed that the building stands on the exact spot that a field hospital for the English troops stood shortly after the Battle of Culloden.

Once the battle was over, life in Scotland changed forever. Wounded Scottish soldiers were killed, their families used and abused, their cattle and belongings sold. Many prisoners were transported to the British Colonies. Kilts and tartans were banned, clan chiefs were stripped of any authority and clansmen were no longer allowed to carry weapons.

Today there is a visitors’ centre on the grounds of Culloden Moor that shares details of the bloody battle and its aftermath. There are a gift shop and a café there as well, but the best part of being here is being able to walk the actual grounds and to get a glimpse of what the Scots faced on that dreadful day in 1746. To learn more about Culloden Moor, the battle and its aftermath, visit the Culloden page on the National Trust for Scotland website.


  • Paisley Kirkpatrick 5 years ago

    And, you can still feel the souls of the fallen solders that day. It is an sad and deeply emotioal place to visit.

  • Robin Shepperd 5 years ago

    Thanks, Lexi, for reminding us about that very sad time of the Scots seeking to be the free men and women they deserved to be.

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